The story of Minecraft sounds like a great movie script. Notch as the protagonist genius programmer, who, from an underdog (indie) position, single handedly changed the game industry by just doing what he loved. And, making a lot of money along the way. And even more money when he was fed up with it all and sold Minecraft.
But perhaps a movie is unnecessary, it is all very well documented already. And most people are familiar with the story. Partly because a lot of that story happened online. So we have the blogs, websites, forum posts, tweets and youtube videos. What we don’t have is a nice graphic timeline depicting the history (until now).I heard about Minecraft somewhere in 2010. And I started paying close attention to Minecraft and its creator. Because even then it seemed like a great story. One guy and his computer changing the world. My favorite kind of story! And I clearly remember being awestruck on August the 20th 2011, when Notch entered a game coding contest and livecasted the whole thing, which he did regularly. (Mind you, the link is a condensed version, the whole thing lasted 48 hours). This guy was something else! The wonders of game creation unfolded right before your eyes. Way too fast to get it all, but it gave a great sense of what it means to create a game. Just him, and his computer with Java IDE Eclipse and Paint.net. The same tools he used when creating Minecraft. (I later found out, trough that contest, that there are many more competent programmers like him. Not everyone strikes gold. But then again, like Notch, most of them are not in it for that reason).
Minecraft is a unique story that deserves a nice looking timeline, and because I couldn’t find a decent one I made one:
The information on this timeline is gathered from http://minecraft.gamepedia.com/
Some noticeable things from this timeline.
- Notch started working on Minecraft a few weeks before taking on a new job (at jAlbum: the software this site also uses!)
- It took a year of development before he finally quit his ‘real’ job to focus on Minecraft. At that time somewhat 20.000 copies had already been sold! While the game was still only in alpha phase. Promising, to say the least.
- The second half of 2010 and 2011 must have been insane. They created the company around Minecraft: Mojang, hired a lot of people, made a ton of updates to the game, released a second game (completely different), talked with Valve, organised MineCon, had a lawsuit on their hands, and amidst all that they sold millions of copies of Minecraft!
- A lot of important Minecraft things seem to have happened on June 1 a couple of years in a row (this also happens to be Notch’s birthday).
The Minecraft story isn’t finished yet. Minecraft is of course very much alive and still setting records. But where Notch and Minecraft once were part of the same story they are now moving into separate timelines.
But whatever happens next, the story of Minecraft will always be an inspiring story and the impact on the game and entertainment industry will echo for years and years to come. That makes it even more special that trough the wonders of Youtube we have this video from 2009. Some unknown guy from Sweden showing a demo of something he built and that might turn into a game.